Cruiser USS Worcester Model Installed in Cold War Gallery

USS Worcester Model awaiting installation in the Cold War Gallery

USS Worcester Model awaiting installation in the Cold War Gallery (click to enlarge)

 

Last week, an enormous model of a unique cruiser from the Navy’s post-World War II fleet was moved from the main Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard, across the parking lot to the Cold War Gallery. The builder’s model of USS Worcester (CL 144) now sits in a prominent position in the center of the South Gallery, opposite the Into the Lion’s Den exhibit. It measures nearly sixteen feet in length.

Worcester had a short but interesting career with the U.S. Navy. She was one of only two ships of her class, along with USS Roanoke (CL 145). Commissioned in 1948, the highly maneuverable cruiser was heavily armed with guns designed to contend with both surface and air targets. She featured twelve 6″/47 guns mounted in six turrets, as well as a huge assortment of 3″/50 and 20mm secondary guns. She was in many ways the culmination of the lessons learned in the Pacific during World War II. In the late summer of 1950, Worcester joined Task Force 77 off Korea. The cruiser provided gunfire support to the Inchon landing, and in support of operations over the course of the following month. Her brief deployment to Korea ended in the fall of that year. Worcester was decommissioned in 1958, struck from the Navy lists in 1970, and later sold for scrap.

The 1/4″ = 1′ scale model of Worcester is impressively detailed, and the dark paint scheme and wooden deck sets it apart visually from the other models on display in the Gallery. It was designed by New York Shipbuilding Corporation as a builder’s model during construction of the ship. It now sits in a fitting spot, surrounded by artifacts from the Korean War, an LCVP, and a model of another ship that participated in the Inchon landing: USS Fort Marion (LSD 22). All of these artifacts are now available for viewing in the Cold War Gallery, which is open to the public Monday through Friday.

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4 Responses to Cruiser USS Worcester Model Installed in Cold War Gallery

  1. robert zorn says:

    That’s very cool and i was born in that town.And never knew that!

  2. My Dad served on the USS Worcester.
    Thanks Dad – and thanks to all those who served !

  3. Angelo G. Cicolani, LCDR USN (Ret) says:

    The first ship I served on was the Worcester (’55-’57). B Division JO, A Div Officer, R Div and then DCA as a Ltjg. Must have been the youngest DCA on Pacific Cruisers at that time. I still have my hand-written test to qualify as EOOW. I think the boilers were the biggest M-type express boilers our Navy ever bought. The reason it was a fantastic ship, besides great COs, is that all lessons learned from WWII ship damage were incorporated into Worcester and its heavy cruiser counterpart the Des Moines class. For example, there was a primary fire control, a secondary and remarkably, if those failed, every turret had its own radar and fire control system and could independently engage targets. These ship’s crews had enormous confidence in their design. Tell any soldier the rate of fire of these essentially 155 mm artillery pieces on Worcester and they are in awe. I always thought that retiring these ships in 1958 was a mistake because all attacking aircraft (at that time) had to slow down from their dash speed to engage a ship target. That reduced airspeed was ideal for Worcester’s 6″ guns to engage them. Long standoff ranges for aircraft carried missiles did not become a threat to these ships for quite a few years after they were retired. So, I maintain that they were retired way too soon. These were the last of the all-gun cruisers and I had the good fortune of also served on the engineering commissioning crew of Long Beach (our first essentially all-missile, all-nuclear cruiser) and I would maintain that its damage control design was no where as good as that of Worcester. At 82, I’m still make a good living promoting the damage control design and operating practices I learned while DCA on Worcester. If any designers for these ships are still alive, they should take great pride in what they accomplished on these two cruiser classes.

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